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APPLICATION FORM REMINDER ON ELIGIBLE LAND

NFU Scotland is joining Scottish Government in reminding Scottish farmers that only eligible land should be included on the Single Application Form (SAF) that most will have completed in mid-May.

If farmers submitted a SAF but did not make deductions for clearly ineligible ‘hard’ features such as roads, houses, new buildings, ponds, watercourses etc then, at inspection, the error will automatically be deemed as intentional and penalties applied. In addition, claiming for permanent, impenetrable vegetation like gorse or bracken or areas of scree could also be deemed an intentional error.

Producers still have the opportunity to remove ineligible land from their claim and, by taking such action, they are taking steps to safeguard their Single Farm Payment (SFP) and support delivered through the Less Favoured Areas Support Scheme (LFASS).

NFU Scotland’s Policy Director, Scott Walker said:

“Last year we drew to our members attention the hefty penalties that they could incur if found by Scottish Government, upon a farm inspection, to have claimed ineligible land on their SAF.   The tightening of the rules on claiming land that has, for example, gorse, bracken or scree will have meant that most farmers looked very closely at the land that they claimed this May and many will have already made the necessary adjustments on their claim form.

“Many farmers leave the submission of their SAF to the last minute and this can often coincide with heavy spring workloads on the farm at the time.   It is easy for an unintentional error to creep in.  We would again urge members to take the time now to have a careful look at the land that they have claimed for both SFP and LFASS purposes to ensure that only land that meets the eligibility criteria has been claimed.

“If this is not the case, do not ignore it and hope you don't get an inspection.   Be proactive, contact your local department with the details and withdraw the land from the claim.

“Taking this action will ensure there is no penalty - failure to take this action means that if you are selected for an official inspection, then the presence of ineligible land could hit your payments hard.

“Removing ineligible land from your claim form, even at this stage, will not reduce your payment for SFP providing that the total amount of land you are claiming is equal to or more than the number of entitlements held.

“Unfortunately there is not an option to add additional land to your claim form.  However, because of the draconian penalties that would apply if you are found to have claimed land that is ineligible, it is much better to lose a small proportion of support at this time rather than risking a severe penalty on your payments.  In the worst case scenario, all payments could be lost so it is worth the time and effort to ensure your claim is sound.”   Notes To Editors

 Farmers are urged to check their farm maps - are there any ineligible areas? Look at the claimed area on your SAF form, and ensure you have you deducted the ineligible area from your claim.  If not, contact your Area Office in writing with the land parcel to be changed and the area to be adjusted. If you fail to do this and are subsequently selected for inspection and the inspector finds ineligible areas above one hectare or 0.5 percent of the total claimed land, the entire SFP and/or LFASS payment could be lost. If this ineligible area is found at inspection, but you have made an effort proactively to correct the situation with your area office, it will not be viewed as intentional over-declaration although penalties may still apply.

 Information about eligible land for the single farm payment scheme is available here: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2010/04/29120713/5 

 Information regarding the completion of the Single Application Form (SAF) including action to be taken by farmers who wish to withdraw land claimed incorrectly (see Section 5 Amendments and Additions page 11) is available here:  http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/farmingrural/Agriculture/grants/Schemes/18148/FormsGuidance/IACS12011 

 

Date Published:

News Article No.: 113/11


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